Finance Fridays: The Generosity Comfort Zone

For some church leaders talking about giving can be uncomfortable.  While many embrace the generosity conversation and have regular, healthy giving conversations, many find it difficult to step outside their comfort zone.  Giving is often an unpopular topic in a church, as my pastor said last week “people always seem to feel we just talked about money!”

Here are a few potentially uncomfortable ideas for you, as a church leader, to step outside of your generosity comfort zone:

Knowing Who Gives

If you’re the lead pastor and don’t know what people give, ask yourself why.  Then ask those around you why you don’t know.  I challenge all the pastors I work with to rethink your position on this.  This is a good place to start.

Mix it up

When discussing giving in the service, do more than announce that it’s time for the offering.  Talk about some of the ways gifts are making an impact on the church, the community, and the world.  Each of these areas appeal to the people in your church in a different way and people give to what inspires them.  Your congregation gives to the church because they believe in its’ mission and because they are called to do so, but there are one or two things match their passions and inspire them: connect their generosity to these passion areas.

Intentional Conversation With High Capacity Givers

There doesn’t need to be a specific ask or project in mind for these conversations, in fact the first conversation about giving should not be approached this way at all.  Your members who have the capacity to make a large gift are already having conversations with other organizations that seek them out.  While this is an uncomfortable step for many church leaders, it is an incredible growth opportunity.  You will be surprised at how many of those you speak with will appreciate your visit and engage in conversation about their giving.  Often times, very high capacity donors may have never even thought about the church as a potential place for a major gift.

How do YOU handle the generosity conversation in YOUR church?


About the Author: Jon Sturdevant

Jon is a strategist for Generis, and he partners with churches, missions organizations, and independent schools as they seek to accelerate generosity and advance their mission. His key focus is counsel for developing a culture of generosity, whether it is in conjunction with a capital funds project or with some other type of vision funding. With a passion to serve the church and para-church organizations he has served a wide variety of churches and non-profits, and draws from experience founded in institutional development and a marketing education. Jon collaborates with many different ministry, business, and educational leaders. He works with high capacity donors, governing & advisory boards, and in many areas that create successful vision and fundraising – marketing & publications, media & production, annual giving, planned giving, major gift development, and alumni relations. Contact him: jon@generis.com @jonsturdevant 630.430.7796